Up to the Minute: Cossette names new business lead

Plus, Strategic Objectives and Cohn & Wolfe both win two AOR assignments.

Hires and promotions

Cossette has hired Daryn Sutherland as VP, business lead in its Toronto office. Previously VP of client services at Community Agency, Sutherland will lead some of Cossette’s biggest accounts, including Canopy Growth, Walmart and the Ministry of Health, with an additional focus on mentoring younger client services staff at the agency. She joins a business leadership team that also includes Tishan Canagasaby, Anabella Mandell, Shawna Hayman, Geoff Wilton and Tyler Robson.

Toronto-based CRM and loyalty agency Conversion Digital has hired Victoria Gray as VP of marketing operations. Jonathan Huth, CEO of the agency, said in a release that Gray will use her experience in scaling a tech-driven start-up to support Conversion’s growth as it transitions out of “start-up mode” to become a “full-on agency.” Conversion has doubled in size in recent months, adding work from clients including Cineplex, Scotiabank, MLSE, Shopify and Pizza Pizza to a roster that already includes LCBO, Second Cup and Rakuten Kobo.

Innocean Worldwide Canada has promoted a number of staff, including Christine Smith to the role of SVP, client business, where she will continue to lead the Hyundai and Genesis Motors accounts while taking additional responsibilities on the agency’s leadership team. Jennifer Green has been promoted to the senior account director role, where she will manage Hyundai’s corporate advertising, as well as Surex Direct and Merrell. Deborah Lee has also been named head of the agency’s production management office, managing staff within the department. Those come on top of 12 promotions within the agency’s media department.

New business

Non-profit focused agency Stephen Thomas has been named fundraising AOR for Ecojustice, the largest environmental law charity in Canada. As part of a three-year mandate, the agency will develop Ecojustice’s annual giving and online fundraising programs. Stephen Thomas previously led a direct mail fundraising assignment for Ecojustice in November, the results from which led to the expanded assignment. Ecojustice is entering a particularly busy period in its history, as it prepares to defend a number of important climate-related lawsuits, including as an intervener against the Alberta government in its challenge against the federal carbon tax.

Strategic Objectives has picked up a pair of AOR assignments. As PR and influencer AOR for Groupe Marcelle, the largest cosmetic manufacturer in Canada, the agency will lead strategies across brands including Lise Watier, Marcelle, Annabelle Cosmetics and CW Beggs & Sons. The assignment was awarded following a competitive review, though the agency has been working with Groupe Marcelle’s internal team to help establish its social presence since 2017. It has also been named Canadian PR AOR for Portland-based outdoor footwear brand Keen, supporting ongoing initiatives and new product launches with PR and communications strategies in Canada.

Cohn & Wolfe has two new PR client wins of its own. It has been named the marketing strategy AOR for Canadian coding and developer education company Lighthouse Labs, and will handle influencer marketing in Canada for New Zealand wine brand Sacred Hill Vineyards.

The Toronto office of KWT Global has added PR mandates for three Toronto-area events to its client roster. It will work with Lighthouse Immersive Productions on the launch of its “Immersive Van Gogh” art exhibit on May 1 and will support The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television on media logistics for the Canadian Screen Awards next month. It will also once again provide PR support for the O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo, after doing the same for the cannabis industry conference in 2017 and 2018.

Other news

Effie Worldwide, the organization behind The Effie Awards, has launched the Global Best of the Best Effie Awards. Open to Grand and Gold Effie winners from the previous year in their respective regions, the new program will give them the opportunity to compete at the global level, with cases judged on their ability to drive business results and effectiveness for clients (Canadian agencies previously entered a North American competition, before the first edition of Effies Canada last year). The entry deadline is the end of March and will be awarded at a gala in September.